Iceland facing sanctions over mackerel


A meeting at the European Commission today is expected to begin the process of applying sanctions to Iceland, following the commitment made in December by Commissioner Maria Damanaki to address continued overfishing of the shared mackerel fishery.

Further measures to tackle the unilateral quotas declared by the Faroe Islands are expected in the coming months.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“Scotland’s priority is to find a solution to the mackerel crisis and reach a new four-party deal – between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. This would be in the best interests of the future of the mackerel stock, which Scotland and others have carefully managed and fished sustainably.

“The EU remains willing to talk and reach an agreement, but all parties need to be reasonable and willing to compromise.

“We cannot do a deal at any cost or condone the irresponsible behaviour of Iceland and the Faroes. Therefore it is right that the EU is taking forward proposals for sanctions.”

In November last year Iceland walked away from talks to put in place a new international agreement for the mackerel fishery and in December Iceland set themselves an increased mackerel catch for 2011 of 147,000 tonnes – the fourth year in a row Iceland has set unilateral quotas outwith international agreements and against established scientific advice.

The European Commissioner has also proposed bringing forward regulations that would enable similar measures to be applied against the Faroes Islands. In 2010 the Faroes set a mackerel quota of 85,000 tonnes, more than three times their previous total allowable catch, and it is anticipated they will set an even higher catch for 2011.

The value of mackerel to the Scottish economy was £135 million in 2009 – the fleet’s most valuable stock – and directly supports around 2,500 jobs.


  1. The sooner that Scotland leaves this crazy EU the better. Sorry to say, for reasons of history if nothing else, the SNP will continue to support the EU.
    The escellent fisheries policy proposed by the SDA is causing daily hits to it’s web-site to quadruple. Those in the industry in Scotland support it and it calls for independence for Scotland’s fisheries from the EU and indeed, from the UK. Scotland to manage it’s own resource – how revolutionary ?.

  2. It seems UpSpake that Iceland and the Faroe islands are able to make independent decisions.However,it does appear that there ia need for Scotland to agree something with Norway,Iceland and the Faroes about preserving fishing stocks.What is the fishing policy proposed by the SDA?

    When you say that the SNP will support the EU for reasons of history,I wonder what you mean.I recall long ago in history looking at an SNP leaflet that was argiung for a no vote in respect of joining the EU.The argument was that no voice merited saying no to joining.What history are you alluding to.? It might start at Jim Sillers who put forward the idea that EU membership would debunk theseperatist rhetoric of unionist parties,but my history goes back longer than that.I think that attitudes to EU membership are fluid.It will change as circumstances change.I voted no in the EU referendum,then thought that EU membership was okay if Scotland could take part as an independent nation and could speak on behalf of its population on issues such as fishing.I am beginning to be more cautious again.However,I guess that we still have to find a way of preserving stocks of fish.What is the solution?


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